An enthusiastic welcome from a small band of flag waving Slovenians as we cross the border and knowing very little about the country Slovenia turns out to be a welcome surprise. Tidy and pretty villages, simple and elegant whitewashed churches and lovely rolling countryside. We are heading for Maribor, another European City of Culture (2012) and staying at the base of the Pohorje mountains in the ski resort on the outskirts of the city.

As with Kazan, the little I knew about Maribor (location and a little history) was partially the result of another Champions League game – the time with Gemma – in 2014 (Chelsea won 6-0). Football is an underestimated resource in geographic teaching. It’s an easy way to teach UK geography, European cities and national flags – as long as your children are into football… but that’s generally easier to achieve than geography.

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